Ericsson to give absolute priority to Indycar over Alfa reserve role

Marcus Ericsson is expecting to retain a role with Alfa Romeo Racing in F1 next season, but the Swede’s main focus will be on his IndyCar commitment with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ericsson raced for Sauber/Alfa Romeo between 2015 and 2018 before exiling himself to the US where he took up a full-time IndyCar seat with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport, achieving a podium finish at Belle Isle in Detroit.

Following ASP’s alliance with McLaren, Ericsson will transfer to Chip Ganassi’s outfit for 2020 where he will race alongside five-tine IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.

However, the 29-year-old will be keeping a helmet bag and a set of overalls at Hinwil, just in case.

“I have a long relationship with Alfa Romeo and Sauber and I’m pretty sure I will have some role there, but then I’ve also said that I really want to focus 100 per cent on this Indy season,” Ericsson told Sweden’s Expressen.

“The priority is not to be a reserve driver in Formula 1, the priority is Indycar.

“But I don’t want to say too much about it’s complicated, with different things to take into account. We’ll see in the future what Alfa Romeo and even Ganassi want.”


Ericsson found himself in F1’s headlines earlier this year when he was touted by the media as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement at Spa, when the Finn’s participation in the Belgian Grand Prix was uncertain because of a minor injury.

Ericsson ultimately remained on the sidelines in Belgium but his presence had forced him to miss an IndyCar round in Portland.

“Everything happened very quickly,” he remembered. “In the US they noticed that I would not be driving [at Portland] and therefore assumed that I would be racing in F1.

“That’s the problem with social media today, if someone writes something it becomes like an explosion and then it goes everywhere.

“Alfa Romeo then came out and put the cards on the table, but it wasn’t optimal, it was a bit chaotic.”

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Ericsson pursues IndyCar venture with Chip Ganassi!

Marcus Ericsson will pursue his career in IndyCar next season thanks to Chip Ganassi whose team will enter a third car in the series next season for the Swede.

After five years in Formula 1, Ericsson found a new home in the US in 2019, completing his maiden season of IndyCar racing with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and achieving a second-place finish in Detroit as his best result.

Ericsson will transfer to the Honda-powered Chip Ganassi Racing outfit where he will race alongside five-time IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon and fellow-Swede Felix Rosenqvist.

“First of all, I’m extremely happy and proud to get the opportunity to join Chip Ganassi Racing,” Ericsson said.

“It’s a team of winners and their history speaks for itself. I’m very thankful that they believe in me and I will do everything I can to make 2020 another successful year for the team.

“I’m also very excited to work with two of the best drivers in the series in Scott and Felix. I’m looking forward to putting what I’ve learned this year to use in my second year in the NTT IndyCar Series.”

Team owner Chip Ganassi underscored the diversity of his new recruit’s talent.

“I think Marcus brings a lot of unique experience with him having competed in several championships around the world,” said Ganassi.

“When you have someone with that type of background, it gives him other points of reference that helps his ability to develop and add to the overall racing program.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what Marcus can do alongside Scott and Felix.”

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Midweek Wrap: Driver Market Heats Up, Seb v Charles, RIP Anthoine

A week that provided plenty of interesting stories in the F1 world, all of it was overshadowed by the tragic death of Anthoine Hubert.

Bottas Re-Signs with Mercedes, Ocon Confirmed at Renault: It was assumed as much in last week’s wrap, but on Thursday it became official, with Valtteri Bottas back at the Mercedes for 2020, with Esteban Ocon moving to Renault. Honestly I don’t feel there’s much I haven’t already said – it’s the safe option for the Silver Arrows, and as far as fallbacks go, things could’ve gone worse for Ocon.

That said, now the silly season rumours shift to Nico Hulkenberg, and where he might land. Will it be Red Bull, Haas, or somewhere else? I guess we’ll see…

First Cracks in Renault-McLaren Relationship? A customer team looking to Renault for answers after an engine failure costs them a result – hmm, for some reason I feel like we’ve been here before…

Out on the opening lap while his teammate lost a promising P5 due to failed power units, I don’t think anyone can blame Carlos Sainz for taking a little shot at the French manufacturer. Such happenings are never acceptable, but particularly considering this is year six of the V6-turbo era, and Renault are still having double-DNFs happen due to engine failures, it’s just embarrassing.

On a related note, it would certainly be remarkable if that Marca report turned out to be true, and the team opted for a return to Mercedes power. How different would the last five years had been had they never parted?

Ericsson to replace Giovinazzi? Suffice to say, Antonio Giovinazzi has not exactly set the world alight in his first full season in F1, and now the rumours have started that he could see it end prematurely should he not deliver a strong performance in Monza, with Marcus Ericsson set to replace him.

As disappointing as that would be for the young Italian, it would also make a lot of sense for Alfa Romeo. Ericsson is a known quantity who brings with him a decent chunk of cash, and while he’s not going to push Kimi Raikkonen, he’s also more likely to keep it out of the wall. Giovinazzi simply hasn’t contributed anything of significance in his 13 races so far – how likely is that to change with another eight?

Vettel the Number Two at Ferrari? A reaction that I think we all saw coming in the wake of Charles Leclerc’s victory in Belgium, the whole “is Seb Vettel still Ferrari’s number one driver?” discussion has been really kicked into overdrive. I’ll admit, I’ve done my part in the past to further that narrative, and yet while I’m certainly glad Vettel is being provided some competition, I still think it’s a tad premature.

The thing is, with the absolute disaster 2019 has been for the Scuderia in the championship standings, it’s also given them a fantastic opportunity post-summer break to let their drivers have a straight fight without the need for politicking. Right now, Leclerc is winning that battle, but there’s eight races still to go. Let’s see how Seb responds.

RIP Anthoine Hubert: There’s really nothing I want to add to what I said on Monday about this terrible tragedy, but as this is undoubtedly the story of the week, it would be remiss if I didn’t include it here. Our thoughts continue to be with the Hubert family, as well as Juan-Manuel Correa, who we wish a speedy recovery as he continues his recuperation in the UK.


Sauber hands Giovinazzi FP1 outing at Hockenheim

Sauber’s test and reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi will be in action at Hockenheim on Friday morning.

The Swiss squad has given the Ferrari Formula 1 junior his first race weekend outing of the season in the initial free practice session for the German Grand Prix.

His most recent time in the car was in the in-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya that followed the Spanish Grand Prix in May, where he also tested with Ferrari. The 24-year-old Italian previously had seven practice outings with the Haas team in 2017.

He made his F1 début for Sauber at the start of 2017 in place of the injured Pascal Wehrlein. His most recent race outing was at Le Mans in the Ferrari factory-backed #52 AF Corse team.

Giovinazzi will be sitting in for Marcus Ericsson, who will have to watch the session from the Sauber pit wall instead. However the Swede was unconcerned by the lost of track time, stressing that he knows Hockenheim well.

“Hockenheim is a track that I have driven many times, in Formula 1 as well as in GP2 and Formula 3 when I was younger,” he said.

“It is a nice track. The biggest challenge is the last sector which can make or break your lap,” he said. “It is important to have good speed in the straights and work your way through the hairpins in the first half of the lap well.”

Ericsson scored points for only the second time this year in Austria, but then crashed out of the British Grand Prix a week later. He’s hoping to put that blip behind him and get straight back into the top ten in Germany.

“I look forward to bouncing back and fighting for good results again at Hockenheim,” he pledged. “As a team, we see a good trend in our performance, having been more and more competitive with each race weekend.

“There are usually a lot of Swedish fans attending this Grand Prix,” he added. “I hope to see many of them again this year – their support is always great!”

Although still in his rookie season in Formula 1, Ericsson’s team mate Charles Leclerc is also very familiar with the Hockenheim circuit.

“The Hockenheimring is a circuit that I know well, especially from my time in Formula 3,” the 20-year-old explained.

I really look forward to going back there. It is great to have the German Grand Prix back on the calendar.

“It is quite a technical track, with an impressive stadium that is usually filled with many spectators.

“Hopefully we can build on the progress we have made in the last few races, and keep fighting for points.”

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